SIC 3494

This category includes establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing metal valves and pipe fittings, not elsewhere classified, such as plumbing and heating valves, and pipe fittings, flanges, and unions, except from purchased pipes. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing plastic pipe fittings are classified in SIC 3089: Plastics Products, Not Elsewhere Classified; those manufacturing plumbing fixture fittings and trim are classified in SIC 3432: Plumbing Fixture Fittings and Trim; and those manufacturing fittings and couplings for garden hoses are classified in SIC 3429: Hardware, Not Elsewhere Classified.

NAICS Code(s)

332919 (Other Metal Valve and Pipe Fitting Manufacturing)

332999 (All Other Miscellaneous Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing)

Parker Hannafin Corp. Refrigerating Specialties of Broadview, Illinois, led the industry with $5.0 billion in 2001 sales on the strength of only 500 employees. Crane Company of Stamford, Connecticut, was in second place with $1.5 billion in sales and 9,600 employees. Rounding out the top three was Swagelok Company of Solon, Ohio, with $1.0 billion in sales and 3,000 employees. Most of the companies in this industry were medium-sized or smaller, and mergers were reducing that number even further.

The valves and pipe fittings industry relies heavily on both the oil and construction industries. The domestic oil industry has been depressed since the mid-1980s, but the retrofitting of pipes in the housing market has served to maintain a level of stability in this industry.

Approximately 69 percent of the metal valve and pipe fitting industry was engaged in producing metal fittings, flanges, and unions for piping systems. Another 23 percent of the industry was engaged in producing plumbing and heating valves.

The 1990s brought industry growth because of changes in fire sprinkler laws. A fire in a Puerto Rico hotel in the early 1990s caused the federal government to review and change laws regarding automatic fire sprinkler systems in buildings exceeding six stories. Additionally, a low-rise hotel fire in Chicago, which killed 15 people in 1993, caused the federal automatic fire sprinkler laws to change regarding buildings lower than seven stories. As a result, many buildings started retrofitting to comply with new safety regulations; as a secondary consequence, demand increased for many of the products manufactured in this sector.

Despite a general downturn for U.S. manufacturers, the market was expected to grow 2-3 percent each year in the 2000s. Localized markets made demand come from such varied markets as chemical plants, pharmaceutical companies, oil and gas producers, and highway construction. The overall domestic demand was coming from petroleum production and refining, water and sewage, and construction. In 2003, control valves saw a huge increase in sales due to expansion in other markets.

Competition from foreign markets was expected to increase, especially as the reduced value of Asian currencies essentially gave buyers discounted prices. In 2003, U.S. manufacturers took court action to stop the glut of Chinese products being dumped in the domestic market. Steel makers saw some relief from trade tariffs in 2002, but those in the industry were ready for more difficulty in keeping U.S. companies competitive. In addition, there was expectation that the lower quality of foreign products would eventually reduce the foreign competition.

But despite the foreign competition, U.S. manufacturers held the edge in technologies, product development, and knowledge, and increased work in this area was expected to keep U.S. companies competitive in the global marketplace. For example, in late 2003 Parker Hannifin offered CAD drawings of its industrial and commercial products for use in designs to suit customers' individual needs. Many companies were exporting roughly half of their products, buoyed by more and more business being conducted via e-commerce and the Internet. Into the mid-2000s, shipments from this industry were expected to increase modestly, primarily due to expanded foreign demand, which was forecast to far outpace domestic demand.

Further Reading

Baker, Deborah J., ed. Ward's Business Directory of US Private and Public Companies. Detroit, MI: Thomson Gale, 2003.

"Control Valves Get Popular." Design News , 5 May 2003.

Hoover's Company Fact Sheet. "Parker Hannifin Corporation." 2 March 2004. Available from .

O'Connor, Marjie. "Industrial Market Sees Upward Move in 2001." Contractor , January 2001.

Olstynski, Jim. "201 Relief Not Good Enough, Say Most Domestic PVF-ers." Supply House Times , April 2002.

"R/S Web Site Newsletter." Parker Hannifin, December 2003. Available from .

"U.S. Companies Take Action Against Pipe Fitting Imports." Contractor , January 2003.

US Industry and Trade Outlook. New York: McGraw Hill, 2000.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: